Robert Sobel, Historian
"What will they think of next!” was a 1920s saying, because new things were continually coming out. And there were new things which you could enjoy, not just for the few. So it was a period of high hope. That’s why the depression was so severe — because we started so high, we fell so low…
[In the 1920s] every part of the economy did well, except for coal mining and certain parts of agriculture. But this was a period in which the American household gets the washing machine, gets a refrigerator, goes off gas light and gets electricity in some cities, in which the family buys a car and goes on a long vacation. This didn’t occur before the 1920s.
In 1920, for the first time, the census showed that a majority of Americans lived in cities. We were becoming an urbanized society. And if you lived in a city in 1925, ’26 or thereabouts, you had all these things going for you. In addition, you were getting your first vacation. People didn’t get vacations before the 1920s. You learned how to buy goods on time, so you didn’t defer your expectations. You were working a five-and-a-half day week, not a six-day week… So things looked pretty good.
The impact of tuberculosis in America, once the deadliest killer in human history.
An updated look at the Alabama tenant farmer families that Walker Evans and James Agee documented in their 1936 Pulitzer Prize-winning book.
The grave truth behind modern forensics was discovered in 1920s New York.
A historic effort to shatter the foundations of white supremacy in what was one of the nation’s most viciously racist, segregated states.
The little-known story of a black independent film industry that produced nearly 500 feature films for African American audiences.
From Joseph Smith's discovery of gold tablets to persecution, migration, and settlement in Utah, the film explores the history of the most American of religions.
A wry philosophical essay on what makes baseball the great American pastime.
The thrilling true story of the American Olympic rowing team that triumphed against all odds in Nazi Germany in 1936.